Monday, April 10, 2006

Sex in the Cafe

So you think the discussion on sex can only be written in Playboy Indonesia edition --which is very tamed--, but not in the National Bureau of Economic Research's working paper? Wrong.

Look at this abstract:
"This paper studies the links between income, sexual behavior and reported happiness. It uses recent data on a random sample of 16,000 adult Americans. The paper finds that sexual activity enters strongly positively in happiness equations. Greater income does not buy more sex, nor more sexual partners. The typical American has sexual intercourse 2-3 times a month. Married people have more sex than those who are single, divorced, widowed or separated. Sexual activity appears to have greater effects on the happiness of highly educated people than those with low levels of education. The happiness-maximizing number of sexual partners in the previous year is calculated to be 1. Highly educated females tend to have fewer sexual partners. Homosexuality has no statistically significant effect on happiness. Our conclusions are based on pooled cross-section equations in which it is not possible to correct for the endogeneity of sexual activity. The statistical results should be treated cautiously"
Blanchflower, David G and Andrew J Oswald, 2004, Money, Sex, and Happines: An Empirical Study, NBER Working Paper No. 10499, or here

Let me repeat some of their findings, and my (unreliable) interpretation is in italics:
#1. money can't buy sex --nor love--
#2. sex is happier for educated persons --good reason for going to school, kids--
#3. highly educated females are more conservative --or, err, picky? why ladies, why?--:
#4. and happiness-maximizing number of sexual partner is one, yes one -- a case against polygamy, perhaps.

Moral of the story, economics can help you to deconstruct myths.

p/s: this is the slight modification of my old post; and aims to be a sequel of previous discussions on raunch and polygamy.



  1. Rizal, to satisfy your obsess.., I mean your "intellectual inquiries", you may also want to er..arouse people's interest in Steven Landsburg's stimulat.. sorry, thought-provoking article in Slate from two years ago about Hugo Mialon's paper, "The Economics of Ecstasy".

  2. your sexiest writing so far, jal.

  3. Ujang, yes, aco told me, even gave me that, interesting Mialon's paper sometimes ago (with a warning: don't tell anyone it's from me). And you know what, I can't open that, Slate's article from my office network. It was blocked due to strong explicit language. I think the IT person's humourless.

    Dito, sexist? :-)

  4. #3. highly educated females are more conservative --or, err, picky? why ladies, why?--

    apparently there's not many men who can pull up a good post-sex conversation. and if they're good enough, there's a big fat chance of getting second serving. women are blessed creature with multiple orgasm ability. hail god!

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Touché...

    But Detta, now look what you did. Rizal may not be able to access these comments from his office network... and he may have to spend whatever conversation time he has planned to use at home to respond to your comment instead.

  7. detta, what's the good convo? on simple silly things like econs and game theory? :-). and you may have offered wrong incentive, the second serving :-)

    ujang, responding detta is undemanding. good post-whatisit convo may not be :-)